Falcon 9 to Launch NROL-76
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is set for its first classified mission for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office on Monday, lifting off from Florida to deliver the secret NROL-76 payload into orbit. NROL-76 - in all likelihood - is aiming for a non-synchronous Low Earth Orbit to carry out a technology demonstration mission for future space-based reconnaissance equipment. Falcon 9 is set to attempt its fourth Return-to-Launch-Site to recover the first stage of the rocket via a powered landing at Cape Canaveral's Landing Zone 1.
Per the NRO's request, coverage of the ascent mission will end at the point of fairing separation two minutes and 48 seconds into the flight. SpaceX will provide live video of the first stage's return.
Live Video by SpaceX
|Launch Date: May 1, 2017||Launch Updates|
|Window: 11:00-13:00 UTC||NROL-76 Identification|
|Launch Site: LC-39A, Kennedy Space Center||Falcon 9 FT|
|Launch Vehicle: Falcon 9 FT||Countdown Timeline|
|Payload: NROL-76||Launch Profile|
|Target Orbit: Classified (Molniya or LEO)||SpaceX Archive|
|1st Stage Landing: T+8 min 46 sec|